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A view of Marseille

Marseille: Macron pledges 1,5 billion euros for transport, culture and security

Marseille: Macron pledges 1,5 billion euros for transport, culture and security

The President unveiled the plan “Marseille en grand” yesterday

On 2 September, the President of France gave a lengthy speech in Marseille, in the presence of local and regional representatives, members of the business community, members of the cabinet and civil society. The reason: Emmanuel Macron announced an urgent mega-project for the development of the second-largest French city until 2030, worth 1 billion and a half euros.

Named “Marseille en grand” (Marseille in large), it will pour state money into transport, culture and security and is set to unfold with the active participation of the local community, according to the Presidency.

The lion’s share goes to transport

President Macron, who is on a visit to the port city, detailed a series of measures, aimed to resolve multiple issues, that the city experiences, such as poverty, exclusion, crime, in the context of three emergencies - security, social and health order.

In terms of security, Mr Macron underlined the nagging issues with organised drug traffic and police harassment. To meet this problem, another 200 police officers will be deployed to the territory as of next year, on top of the 100 who have arrived in 2021; the reinforcement of video surveillance and equipment of police officers and improving their working conditions are also part of the plan.

In the social domain, the President was somehow less clear, as he spoke of increased mobilisation of national and local authorities for a broader approach to poverty. The latter, together with associations are tasked to support families in education, sports, culture and decent housing. Despite presenting himself at the start of the school year, the President failed to give any details on the amount of support that schools will receive and which (out of 174 that need urgent repairs) will be fitted to the contemporary needs of learners.

Finally, for the health emergency, Macron evoked the deficiencies in the healthcare services of Marseille and the lower vaccination rates in some neighbourhoods. Dozens of millions of euros will thus go for hospital renovations, reinforcement of mother-child care and the establishment of a Women’s House. He promised to fight against the lack of medical service and doctors in some city areas. As a result, a 169-million-euro budget shared with local authorities will go for the health emergency.

Furthermore, one billion euros, including 250 million in subsidies, will be committed by the State both for accessibility and specific projects for the automation of the metro, the creation of four tram lines and five high-level bus lines. The objective of the major transport developments will be to open up the northern neighbourhoods and to link the north and the south of Marseille.

Culture was also identified as a pillar of the economy, with cinema and movie series given special attention. Also, the Odysséo project was announced, that aims to become a major place of education and awareness of the protection of the Mediterranean environment, among other things.

Macron promised to return in October and in February to follow up on the progress of the plan.

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